Pharyngula

Quote of the week

Mike the Mad Biologist wins a gold star for this quote that I’ll be stealing:

The other thing we evolutionary biologists don’t do enough of, and this stems from the previous point, is make an emotional and moral case for the study of evolution. Last night, I concluded my talk with a quote from Dover, PA creationist school board member William Cunningham, who declared, “Two thousand years ago someone died on a cross. Can’t someone take a stand for him?”

My response was, “In the last two minutes, someone died from a bacterial infection. We take a stand for him.”

Now that is good framing.

Comments

  1. #1 shadow1515
    March 25, 2008

    Good framing indeed. Maybe I have a quote to use in my personal statement for my med school application now. You may have stolen it first, but I’m stealing it now.

  2. #2 MAJeff, OM
    March 25, 2008

    As I recall, we there were a number of us who burst into applause at that comment–particularly the biologists who work in fields involving communicable diseases.

    It is one of the good points to be made about the muddy middle too–different frames (utility of evo-theory vs. Creos as liars) for different audiences; different styles in different publics. Talking about the utility and necessity of evolutionary theory in dealing with things like MRSA, HIV, TB, Malaria, etc., will be more useful among in some audiences. Creos as liars works well when dealing with the EXPELLED! *jazz hands* issue.

  3. #3 Sigmund
    March 25, 2008

    To be completely fair to Matt Nisbet he has actually recently stated that the best way to ‘frame’ (that bloody F-word again) evolution to the general public is to describe it in terms of medical advances.

  4. #4 Sastra
    March 25, 2008

    Ah, but I seriously doubt that Mr. Nisbet would be happy that scientific medical advances were being promoted as the counterpoint to Christianity.

  5. #5 Pete
    March 25, 2008

    No, we’d better lay low and wait for the official go-ahead before using that line.
    Ha.
    Seriously, that is rather good; mostly because it’s true.

  6. #6 revmonkeyboy
    March 25, 2008

    Great quote indeed! It should be added that ALL of the sciences advance our ability to survive, thrive and excel. Religion had it’s chance to advance human kind, and did a miserable job.

    Why would anyone need to stand up for Jesus? If you believe what they say then, he did not even stand up for himself. If you believe what they say, he is powerful beyond all things. Such a being would not really need any protection. Not that I believe any of it, it’s just that even if it were true, what would be the point?

    All of the advances we have made as a species( cars, phones, space travel, medicine, stable food supply, clean water) come from hard work, curiosity, testing, and cooperation, not prayer, worship, submission or denial. I only hope that more of the same is where we go in the future.

  7. #7 Michael X
    March 25, 2008

    Mr. Mad Biologist, congratulations. You’ve just given birth to a healthy baby meme.

  8. #8 Bill
    March 25, 2008

    Awesome.

  9. #9 danley
    March 25, 2008

    Stand for something or you’ll fall for anytard.

  10. #10 kshep
    March 25, 2008

    I totally agree except for one little thing: the name of the Dover school board member is William Buckingham, not Cunningham.

    Credit where it’s due and all that.

  11. #11 Marco Sch.
    March 25, 2008

    There’s an emotional and moral case argument for stem cell research too, which has only something like 60% support in opinion polls [1] … A bit more than the 53% acceptance of evolution in the American public (but less than the 66% who believe creationism) [2]. Go figure…

  12. #12 Dianne
    March 25, 2008

    Why would anyone need to stand up for Jesus?

    Because he was a victim of torture, persecution, and execution for thoughtcrime? Like thousands of other, less well known victims of these practices in the Roman empire. But remember to stand up for Brian, the two thieves and everyone else who died because the empire (whoever it is at the moment) is scared of them or finds them inconvenient. Not but that I feel more competent to stand for someone who died of bacterial infection in the recent past than to right 2000 year old wrongs.

  13. #13 genesgalore
    March 25, 2008

    we like mike.

  14. #14 Steven
    March 25, 2008

    Mike FTW

  15. #15 Carlie
    March 25, 2008

    Damn, that’s good. I’ll be using that one, too.

  16. #16 Steven
    March 25, 2008

    2,000 years ago a guy died on a cross then went to eternal paradise which he was already in because he was god in human form but also his own son or something along these lines.

    My argument here is this “So?”. I mean if he died and that was him dead then its a bit of a sacrifice but if he dies and then goes to eternal paradise then what is the big deal. He didn’t really get a bum deal. I am assuming eternal paradise is a good thing. If I believed in such a thing. Isn’t it like winning the lottery and banging Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Alba in a threesome all in the one day. I’d take a couple days of torture for that reward.

    Jesus is a whiny bitch.

  17. #17 daenku32
    March 25, 2008

    Sounds like Mike really nailed him on that one.

  18. #18 weemaryanne
    March 25, 2008

    If this is madness, the world needs more of it. Kudos to Mr Mad Biologist.

  19. #19 ERV
    March 25, 2008

    This isnt as good, but Ill share my inverse-evangelical-meme. In response to ‘There are no atheists in foxholes’ my stock response is ‘Right. Thats because all the atheists are busy in research labs curing cancer and AIDS. Whats that tell ya?’

  20. #20 philos
    March 25, 2008

    ERV, now come on.

    “curing”?

    As I say, job security, ad infinitum.

    “So nat’ralists observe, a flea
    Hath smaller fleas that on him prey,
    And these have smaller fleas that bite ‘em,
    And so proceed ad infinitum.” – Jonathan Swift

  21. #21 Sue Laris
    March 25, 2008

    A good effort towards the “unsure” middle, but Xians like Buckingham, and religious fanatics generally, don’t give a shit about people, only the clay-footed mental idols they worship, and whose only desire – they believe – is for servility (or blood).

  22. #22 NP
    March 25, 2008

    For all the ID advocates’ cries of persecution and in some cases, theocratic hopes, they have yet to demonstrate how ID treated as science would actually be of any benefit to society.
    What does Intelligent Design have to offer when it comes to studying the evolution of HIV or mutagenesis of cancer cells? What does ID have to offer as far as understanding antiobiotic and pest resistance goes?
    If one were to take a pragmatic view on this, it is clear that ID does nothing except promote religious ideologies in the classroom. And history has taught us that religion does not lead to utopian societies.

  23. #23 John C. Randolph
    March 25, 2008

    Come to think of it, if a god exists, it’s been waging biological warfare against mankind for as long as we’ve existed. How could it possibly make any sense to love and honor such a monster?

    -jcr

  24. #24 John C. Randolph
    March 25, 2008

    Blasphemous joke of the day: Did you hear that Jesus Christ wasn’t able to get into graduate school? He really got nailed on his boards..

    -jcr

  25. #25 Azkyroth
    March 25, 2008

    ERV, now come on.

    “curing”?

    As I say, job security, ad infinitum.

    That’s either a bad joke or the most nauseating example of projection I’ve encountered from the religious for quite some time.

  26. #26 Hairhead
    March 25, 2008

    Little story here: Friend of mine, born in 1942, said that in 1960, he was working his way through university doing landscaping. Somehow he jammed a dirty garden fork into his palm. Couple of days later, the pain was intense and strange white marks were crawling up his forearm. So he goes to the doctor, who prescribes a course of penicillin and tells him to come back in two weeks. Friend goes back, gets clean bill of health, doc sits friend down and tells him the following:

    “Mel, fifteen years ago, if you had come to me in your condition we’d have had your arm off at the elbow by 7 that night — and at that you’d only have had a 50% chance of living. Don’t talk to me about the ‘good old days’ — you can keep them!” My friend said that was the proof of science which had the greatest impact on him. (He went into botany.)

  27. #27 Inoculated Mind
    March 25, 2008

    A Gold Star?!? What’s the conversion rate between gold stars and Schrute Bucks?
    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/212/511118678_f2d315c18d.jpg

  28. #28 justasitsounds
    March 25, 2008

    As I say, job security, ad infinitum.

    Long time lurker, first time poster etc.

    This has got to be one of the most odious assertions made by creotards, religiobots and other assorted nutbags: “Them scientists could have cured cancer a long time ago but they won’t because then they’d be out of a job”.

    Get yourself a clue pal. ‘Cancer’ is a catch-all term for a huge variety of conditions that lead to run-away cell division/replication – it is not one disease. Great progress has been made in the treatment of cancer, although admittedly no-one has come up with your cure-all panacea that also buffs up your car hubcaps yet. Medical research is hard, rigorous and [generally] badly paid work. This lazy slur is a slap in the face for the thousands of people who undertake this work and devalues the man-millenia of work that have been undertaken (with results).

    I suspect that the naked self-interest projected onto “them scientifists and there book larnin’” tells us all a lot more about you than you care to admit.

  29. #29 Hipple, Rev. Paul T.
    March 25, 2008

    I’ll stipulate that someone dies every two minutes from a microbial infection although most of them are savages choosing to live in squalid conditions and so are pretty much getting what they asked for. But let’s be clear, there is no biblical conflict, and there has never been a conflict, with micro-evolution. And we’re getting burn near tired of reminding you of that.

    Those people are dying from micro-evolutionary processes and you science types should be taking a stand to help them. It is only Christian that you do so.

    Besides, that’s why you get paid the big money.

    We’ve simply got a big problem with you doing crazy experiments trying to prove your fantasy, like preserving wildlife areas where you swear evolution is supposed to flourish but nothing looks any different in them today than they did a hundred years ago, or trying to create new species by mating chimps with humans.

  30. #30 Eric
    March 25, 2008

    How are we to detect whether or not cancer is the intended design of the Intelligent Designer or an anomaly? If it’s the former, do we have the right to question or muck around with his design? If it’s the later, shouldn’t we question his title as a supposed “intelligent” designer?

  31. #31 ScottB
    March 25, 2008

    It strikes me that we can build a house, cook a meal, gaze at the stars and, in fact, continue quite comfortably on our ways without contemplating the probability of evolution. In the same way, our observational sciences of chemistry and toxicology could, did and probably would still discover antibiotics without Darwin’s comments on galapagos finches. So both the mad biologist and the frustrated creationist educational overseer were off-point. Education happens when simplistic dogma from either side is left behind. Neither is Hubris a competent replacement.

  32. #32 Jay
    March 25, 2008

    I’ve started to take a different approach. Science has produced real, verifiable MIRACLES. Check out my blog for examples:

    Depth Deception

    I think it may be important to start adapting the religious language of IDiots and other anti-science forces just as they have commandeered, misrepresented, and mutated the language of science. We’ve got to start appealing to the experiences and sensibilities of the religiously misinformed if we are ever to break through their willful ignorance to persuade their minds.

  33. #33 Friendo
    March 25, 2008

    This has got to be one of the most odious assertions made by creotards,

    You really haven’t been paying attention, have you? More odious than blaming biology for the [expletive deleted in case Mooney is reading] Holocaust? philos’ little whine is really pretty tame.

    With respect to the original post, I’d like to pedantically insist on pointing out that the prospect of medical advances is not and should not be the prime motivation. The scientific/naturalist viewpoint is first and foremost an immediate consequence of intellectual honesty, in that “maybe the cartoonish stories of our distant ancestors are not a good way to describe the world” is a pretty obvious conclusion to anyone not contaminated by cultural traditions. The eventual benefits to our quality of life are not essential to the scientific endeavor.

  34. #34 JimC
    March 26, 2008

    But let’s be clear, there is no biblical conflict, and there has never been a conflict, with micro-evolution. And we’re getting burn near tired of reminding you of that.

    Imagine what the rest of the world is dealing with in regards to your learning impairment then. You goofs cling to the micro-evolution without even an understanding of what you are talking about.

    supposed to flourish but nothing looks any different in them today than they did a hundred years ago, or trying to create new species by mating chimps with humans.

    idiot, I mean really your an idiot and the sad thing is among your community you probably pass as educated.

  35. #35 JimC
    March 26, 2008

    Rev Hipple my apologies, after looking at your blog I see the satire. It’s just so hard to tell these days.

  36. #36 John C. Randolph
    March 26, 2008

    most of them are savages choosing to live in squalid conditions and so are pretty much getting what they asked for

    You blithering idiot.

    Nobody chooses to live in poverty, they live that way because either 1) they don’t know how to make a better living, or 2) the local kleptocracy keeps them from improving their circumstances.

    -jcr

  37. #37 Sam
    March 26, 2008

    Rev. Hipple-

    I just checked out your website after JimC’s comment. Absolutely hilarious! I’m glad I’m done drinking coffee for the day or I surely would have spilled it.

  38. #38 Bill
    March 26, 2008

    Perhaps it would be prudent to establish some satire / irony / sincerity / righteous indignation codes for posts?

  39. #39 Noni Mausa
    March 26, 2008

    Rev. Paul T. Hipple said: …someone dies every two minutes from a microbial infection although most of them are savages choosing to live in squalid conditions and so are pretty much getting what they asked for…

    And Rev. Paul T. Hipple’s boss said:

    Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    Paul, you gotta pay better attention.

  40. #40 Noni Mausa
    March 26, 2008

    sam said: Rev. Hipple-I just checked out your website after JimC’s comment. Absolutely hilarious!

    Nevermind.

    Noni

  41. #41 craig
    March 26, 2008

    Why stand up for Jesus?
    If he existed as a regular ordinary human being, whats the point of standing up for one person who has been dead for a couple thousand years?

    If he is/was god or the son of god or his own grandpaw or however the hell that works, can’t he sorta stand up for himself? What good is a god who’s too chicken to stand up to a couple of geeky scientists?

    I don’t get it. Someone make it make sense.

  42. #42 Eric Paulsen
    March 26, 2008

    We’ve simply got a big problem with you doing crazy experiments trying to prove your fantasy, like preserving wildlife areas where you swear evolution is supposed to flourish but nothing looks any different in them today than they did a hundred years ago, or trying to create new species by mating chimps with humans. – Hipple, Rev. Paul T.

    I KNEW there was a camera in my bedroom! She wasn’t a chimp, she’s Greek!

  43. #43 tim
    March 26, 2008

    Oh, snap!

  44. #44 Chris Noble
    March 26, 2008

    Thats because all the atheists are busy in research labs curing cancer and AIDS. Whats that tell ya?’

    That HIV is part of God’s plan to punish Teh Gayz.

  45. #45 sacredchao
    March 26, 2008

    Quote of the year, possibly. Awesome. I can almost hear the collective gasp as Mike verbally eviscerates the bible thumper.

  46. #46 G. Tingey
    March 26, 2008

    @ #4: “Ah, but I seriously doubt that Mr. Nisbet would be happy that scientific medical advances were being promoted as the counterpoint to Christianity.”

    But that is EXACTLY what they are – see the row in Britain ay present, because the Catholic church is rallying its’ brainwashed follwers into opposing c research using possible chimaeras ……

  47. #47 Reynold Hall
    March 26, 2008

    Paul Hipple may be joking around, but that “microevolution” argument he used in jest is most definately used by creationists seriously. Paul’s comment is exactly what YECs like Sarfati and Ham would say.

  48. #48 Ashley Moore
    March 26, 2008

    The thing that has always struck me as odd is that in the world view of the ID proponents…

    Communicable diseases are too complex to have evolved and must have been designed by the Creator. And it is mean atheist biologists who use the theory of evolution to cure and eradicate the diseases.

  49. #49 MartinM
    March 26, 2008

    In the same way, our observational sciences of chemistry and toxicology could, did and probably would still discover antibiotics without Darwin’s comments on galapagos finches. So both the mad biologist and the frustrated creationist educational overseer were off-point.

    Discovering antibiotics is one thing. Understanding how best to apply them to minimize the risk of resistance evolving in the target population is quite another.

  50. #50 paleogirl
    March 26, 2008

    Stand up for Jesus?? I thought the whole point of Jesus existance was that he was vilified, tortured and killed. If this hadn’t have happened no-one would know who he was and christianity would never have existed (hmm- maybe we should wish that someone had stood up for him and stopped the whole thing in its tracks). But then we would still have probably ended up with a different kind of intolerant religion. I think personally that The Romans and Greeks had it right with a god for everything, who all behaved like spoilt children.

  51. #51 andreeapl
    March 26, 2008

    1. “That HIV is part of God’s plan to punish Teh Gayz.” (nr 44) Seriously now, move your troglodyte sputterings in an environment it belongs (trash bin’s the one i have in my mind). If it’s God’s scourge aimed at gay people, then why are millions of kids dying of it in African countries?
    2. In reference to the “frame”. Why stand up for Jesus? How about because he stood up for something greater than himself – just a suggestion.
    3. No, the idea that all atheists are busy finding cures (nr 19) for diseases is just self-congratulatory chest-beating. Come off the pedestal!
    4. Why oh why are people insisting on divorcing spirituality from science? How can you contemplate the wondrous creation that is human biology and not stop to think that maybe it’s not meant to be only some organs functioning at the same time?
    Spoonfed religion makes me cringe, but to say that there’s nothing to our lives beyond biology, scares the hell out of me!

  52. #52 maxi
    March 26, 2008

    Well, there’s also chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology… But what I really want to say, andreeapl, is that life doesn’t care whether you are scared or not. So get over it.

  53. #53 Jud
    March 26, 2008

    andreeapl (#51) wrote -

    1. “That HIV is part of God’s plan to punish Teh Gayz.” (nr 44) Seriously now, move your troglodyte sputterings in an environment it belongs (trash bin’s the one i have in my mind). If it’s God’s scourge aimed at gay people, then why are millions of kids dying of it in African countries?

    * * *

    Spoonfed religion makes me cringe, but to say that there’s nothing to our lives beyond biology, scares the hell out of me!

    What scares the heck out of me are folks who are so humor-impaired they don’t realize #44 is a joke.

  54. #54 firemancarl
    March 26, 2008

    @29 Hipple said Those people are dying from micro-evolutionary processes and you science types should be taking a stand to help them. It is only Christian that you do so.

    Besides, that’s why you get paid the big money

    I was under the impression that’s why they get Trophy Wife ™ with Ninja Action

    But wot do I know.

  55. #55 maxi
    March 26, 2008

    Jud: andreeapl is from Romania, so maybe there is a language barrier that needs crossing?

  56. #56 Andreas Johansson
    March 26, 2008

    but to say that there’s nothing to our lives beyond biology, scares the hell out of me!

    Then I suggest you work at overcoming that fear.

  57. #57 Jud
    March 26, 2008

    maxi (#55) – You’re right; I guess, to extend the metaphor, I may have shoved him over the barrier?

    Andreeapl, to the extent that shove may have been rather rude, my apologies.

  58. #58 Katie
    March 26, 2008

    first! katie.blogsite.org :D

  59. #59 James F
    March 26, 2008

    #4 Sastra wrote:

    Ah, but I seriously doubt that Mr. Nisbet would be happy that scientific medical advances were being promoted as the counterpoint to Christianity.

    Taken in context, Mike was countering the argument of someone who falsely framed the issue as evolution vs. Christianity. I can’t recall a single point in the talk where Mike framed the problem as medicine vs. religion; his message was real science vs. creationism, and how to impress upon the public the value of evolution in medical research.

  60. #60 LisaJ
    March 26, 2008

    Beautiful!

  61. #61 LisaJ
    March 26, 2008

    Beautiful!

  62. #62 Sastra
    March 26, 2008

    andreeapl #51 wrote:

    Spoonfed religion makes me cringe, but to say that there’s nothing to our lives beyond biology, scares the hell out of me!

    You’re “framing” the issue wrong. Meaning and purpose are not a kind of thing handed down to someone because they were created for a reason. Meaning and purpose have to do with what the individuals themselves care about. It doesn’t matter at all whether human beings came about as the result of mindless, purposeless forces or not. Our purposes are always self-created, and we extend them beyond our biology and origins.

    Even if God exists, God only matters if first we care about God.

  63. #63 ScottB
    March 26, 2008

    “Discovering antibiotics is one thing. Understanding how best to apply them to minimize the risk of resistance evolving in the target population is quite another.”

    It is indeed unfortunate therefore that this is precisely that which has not been accomplished. However, even minimalizaiton of risk is not the absense of risk. Understanding how best to shuffle and distribute a deck of cards or a pile of genes does not require a fundamental change in either.

    Humans have caused population change throughout recorded history – its called breeding. The Red Angus herd garnered through patience and intentional breeding choices from an original population of Black Angus is more fortuitous than causing superbugs to overpopulate through indiscriminate use of antibiotics but the method is the same – human interference.

    What is required is good education in statistics and (in this case) its use to understand epidemiology and the dynamics of phenotype expression within the target populations.

  64. #64 Sastra
    March 26, 2008

    James F #59 wrote:

    Taken in context, Mike was countering the argument of someone who falsely framed the issue as evolution vs. Christianity.

    I can see that, but it’s very easy to take that quotable quote out of context and get the opposite message. So I can also see Nisbet getting huffy about the way it looks like the Mad Biologist is suggesting it’s either “stand up for Jesus” or “stand up for evolution (and medical advances.)” Doesn’t seem to take much to get Nisbet huffy.

  65. #65 Ian H Spedding FCD
    March 26, 2008

    My response was, “In the last two minutes, someone died from a bacterial infection. We take a stand for him.”

    Perfect! That is exactly the sort of thing science needs in any public debate with IDiot creationists – pithy, memorable one liners that encapsulate a whole argument.

    Advertising/PR types seem to be better than this than scientists – with some notable exceptions. Richard Dawkins is a master of the vivid metaphor, “selfish gene” and “blind watchmaker” are the obvious ones but just recently there was that rhetorical flourish with which he opened his review of Expelled: “The blogs are ringing with ridicule.”

    This may not come easy to the scientific mind which tends to be attuned to the extended, detailed argument but it’s a powerful weapon in any public debate.

  66. #66 James F
    March 26, 2008

    #64 Sastra wrote:

    I can see that, but it’s very easy to take that quotable quote out of context and get the opposite message. So I can also see Nisbet getting huffy about the way it looks like the Mad Biologist is suggesting it’s either “stand up for Jesus” or “stand up for evolution (and medical advances.)” Doesn’t seem to take much to get Nisbet huffy.

    Point taken. I would not want to bet money against Nisbet et al. taking that view! Not slamming you; it’s just frustrating to contemplate that it’s totally not what Mike was implying.

  67. #67 bernarda
    March 26, 2008

    You probably remember the Bastard Fairies song “We’re all going to Hell” from a few posts ago. Now there is Mrs. Betty Bowers with “You’re going straight to Hell”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsBZCq4hp14&feature=related

    Her other video is quite good too.

  68. #68 blue
    March 26, 2008

    ScottB:

    Your post makes me sad, as both an evolutionary biologist and a science educator.

    What you are describing are, indeed, evolutionary processes. Why is that difficult to accept? And why dismiss the natural environment as a source of selection, while so readily accepting the environment created by humans? Logically, it just doesn’t make sense.

  69. #69 Lilly de Lure
    March 26, 2008

    *Cheers*

    Mike the Mad Biologist – we are not worthy!

  70. #70 MAJeff, OM
    March 26, 2008

    In the same way, our observational sciences of chemistry and toxicology could, did and probably would still discover antibiotics without Darwin’s comments on galapagos finches. So both the mad biologist and the frustrated creationist educational overseer were off-point. Education happens when simplistic dogma from either side is left behind. Neither is Hubris a competent replacement.

    Part of the point was that evolutionary theory helps a great deal in understanding, “Why doesn’t this work any more?” when things like MRSA pop up.

  71. #71 Rebecca
    March 26, 2008

    Mike ended his Boston Skeptics in the Pub talk with that quote, to quite a rousing response from the audience. Very inspirational.

    Audio of that talk is coming soon!

  72. #72 NCN
    March 26, 2008

    What does evolution have to do with discovering the cure for a bacterial infection? I’m a Christian – and we raise money for cancer research. We support new housing in impoverished areas of the world. We send food and clothing and medical supplies to people affected by natural disasters. And, I’m all for the study of – and the treatment of – bacterial infections. I don’t understand why I have to pinpoint the origin of the bacteria in order to fight it. From a Christian point of view, the struggle against sickness and disease is a morally upright, righteous struggle.

  73. #73 philos
    March 26, 2008

    Penicillin was discovered by ACCIDENT, not research.

    Some of the bonehead lab rats here need to spend less bench time and
    read a book or two instead of ‘saving the world’.

    Research on most things is useful, but others, not so much.

    http://www.ul.ie/~childsp/CinA/Issue59/TOC11_Pzifer.htm

  74. #74 Stephen Wells
    March 26, 2008

    Knowing the origins of the bacteria you’re struggling against is useful, in much the same way that knowing the earth is round is useful when mapping the earth. Knowing your own evolutionary origins is also handy. Know your enemy, and know yourself.

  75. #75 MAJeff, OM
    March 26, 2008

    NCN,

    Do you like spouting shit you’re clueless about?

    Evolution isn’t about where bacteria came from. It’s about how they change. Look up things like antibiotic-resistant Tuberculosis or MRSA. Resistance comes about through evolution.

    Maybe you should learn something about what evolution is and how it helps our understanding before spouting off. Maybe you should have listened to a biologist who actually studies evolution and bacteria to find out how they fit together. Too much work? Doesn’t fit with what your pastor told you?

    Keep wallowing in your willful ignorance. Must be a fun place.

  76. #76 spurge
    March 26, 2008

    “From a Christian point of view, the struggle against sickness and disease is a morally upright, righteous struggle.”

    From anyones point of view fighting disease is a good thing.

    You are not special.

  77. #77 philos
    March 26, 2008

    NCN:

    And that’s what the New Atheists just ‘don’t get’

    In order for you to be in science, and to be CREDIBLE, you may not wish to proclaim your faith, otherwise, you may get fired if a New Atheist was your superior.

    Not too (none, actually) many in the name of Atheism-run organizations “raising money for cancer research, supporting new housing in impoverished areas of the world, or sending food and clothing and medical supplies to people affected by natural disasters”

    I’m agnostic, as Darwin was, and I can see the politics.

    Pathetic.

    You have to agree with the New Atheists or they’ll stomp their feet and if they’re in charge, shout incompetence – then you’ll be on the street.

  78. #78 Peter Ashby
    March 26, 2008

    NCN it is quite simple really. Evolution lets you understand and make sense of the relationships between organisms, at whatever level. So say you discover that compound X is active against microbug Y. How do you make use of this information further? do you randomly test it against any sort of bug? or do you use your understanding of the complex* relationship amongst microbugs to intelligently suppose it might be more effective against this group than that group, do a series of experiments to confirm that (simpler and easier than testing everything, also quicker and cheaper).

    Then you can give the medics accurate prescribing information. This is good not just so that they can give compound X only to those who need it, but if you give it against bugs that are resistant, you risk that resistance spreading. And it might be that tweaking compound Y will make it work against that class, call that compound Y-2. If the bugs are resistant to Y there is a chance they will be resistant to the related Y-2, but if you have exposed lots of those bugs to Y, then Y-2 will be useless.

    *relationships amongst the protists can be very complex as there is a lot of lateral transfer of large chunks of genomes down there. So one bug can be related to a number of otherwise not related bugs, and what can matter when it comes to disease and vulnerability to antibiotics is individual genes and clusters of them.

  79. #79 PZ Myers
    March 26, 2008

    Penicillin was discovered by ACCIDENT, not research.

    Completely false. It was a chance event that allowed penicillium spores to fall on a petri plate, but that happens all the time; you’ve got fungi growing on your food right this moment. I don’t see you (or me!) discovering new antibiotics from this event. Fleming was a smart fellow and a trained observer who noticed significant details of the pattern of growth in the plate, and then carried out detailed series of experiments and worked out mechanisms of propagating and enhancing growth of the particularly effective strains. That is research. It is not an accident.

  80. #80 blue
    March 26, 2008

    To be fair, MAJeff, knowing about the origins of ‘newer’ diseases is useful and is definitely informed by evolutionary biology. For example, looking at the ancestry and close relatives of HIV (not a bacteria, I know) is an issue in trying to find effective means of combating the disease.

    I’m an atheist. I give money to cancer research and to feed the poor. Many of my colleagues in evolutionary biology are religious. Many are also non-religious. We’re pretty much all anti-disease.

  81. #81 MartinM
    March 26, 2008

    Penicillin was discovered by ACCIDENT, not research.

    Did somebody suggest otherwise?

  82. #82 MartinM
    March 26, 2008

    Heh. Allow me to rephrase: did somebody suggest otherwise before you brought it up? Only one comment mentioned penicillin before yours, philos, and that one had nothing whatsoever to do with how it was discovered. Taking a swing at a claim no one had actually made, regardless of its merits, seems rather pointless. It’s almost as if you just wanted to argue.

  83. #83 philos
    March 26, 2008

    No, it was an accident whilst doing other focused, unrelated research in the basement of Imperial College.

    (A 1928 London basement for research? Argghh. Nice clean environment, to be sure.)

    Fleming wasn’t purposely looking to discover something to be called Penicillin.

    If I’m a researcer studying Zebrafish and accidently spill a Coke can into my Petri dish that induces the Zebrafish to do something spectacular, that’s an accident, although it’s enticing to say “I did it on purpose” or something of that vein.

    The point may be moot:

    “However, several others had earlier noted the bacteriostatic effects of Penicillium: The first published reference appears to have been in 1875, when it was reported to the Royal Society in London by John Tyndall[1]. Ernest Duchesne documented it in his 1897 paper; however it was not accepted by the Institut Pasteur because of his young age. In March 2000, doctors at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in San Jose (Costa Rica) published manuscripts belonging to the Costa Rican scientist and medical doctor Clodomiro (Clorito) Picado Twight (1887-1944). The manuscripts explained Picado’s experiences between 1915 and 1927 about the inhibitory actions of the fungi of genera Penic. Clorito Picado had reported his discovery to the Paris Academy of Sciences, yet did not patent it, even though his investigation had started years before Fleming’s.”

  84. #84 philos
    March 26, 2008

    “I did not invent penicillin. Nature did that. I only discovered it by accident” – Alexander Fleming

  85. #85 Jud
    March 26, 2008

    philos, be sure and let us know as soon as someone connected with Intelligent Design discovers a powerful antibiotic via accident, accident followed by research, or any other method.

  86. #86 PZ Myers
    March 26, 2008

    That’s called modesty.

    It’s utterly inane to claim the research was an accident. If I spill Coke on a zebrafish and something weird happens, that’s an accident, but it’s not research. If I then determine what the active agent was, purify it, and determine the mechanism of its activity, that’s research, but it’s not an accident.

    You really don’t understand science at all, philos.

  87. #87 laserboy
    March 26, 2008

    philos: stop being obtuse. No one argues that the mould itself wasn’t an accidental discovery. However, everything that followed that initial observation was certainly not an accident. It was science based critical thinking and the application of research principles that turned an accidental discovery into something useful.

    Personally, I would give my right arm for such an accident to occur in my lab. I would give my left arm to have the brains to follow up on it.

  88. #88 JT
    March 26, 2008

    In order for you to be in science, and to be CREDIBLE, you may not wish to proclaim your faith, otherwise, you may get fired if a New Atheist was your superior.

    Care to point out some instances of that happening? I can think of a few cases of the reverse off hand, so if it really is a likely scenario you should be able to point out a few examples, right? Or are you just being blatantly dishonest and projecting your own faults onto some other group to justify your rabid hatred of them for no reason other than they don’t agree with you on some completely unimportant side-topic again?

    How “Christian” of you.

  89. #89 MissPrism
    March 26, 2008

    “Fleming wasn’t purposely looking to discover something to be called Penicillin.”

    That’s the best unintentionally hilarious comment I’ve seen in weeks. I’m now imagining a grant application that says “I intend to discover something Folpiclopine. There isn’t anything called that yet, and it might well prove useful for getting bubble gum out of upholstery.”

  90. #90 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 26, 2008

    Fleming wasn’t purposely looking to discover something to be called Penicillin.

    Oh damn. I need a new monitor and a new cup of coffee.

  91. #91 JImC
    March 26, 2008

    What does evolution have to do with discovering the cure for a bacterial infection?

    Simply clueless.

    philos:

    And that’s what the New Atheists just ‘don’t get’

    In order for you to be in science, and to be CREDIBLE, you may not wish to proclaim your faith, otherwise, you may get fired if a New Atheist was your superior.

    Clueless. When has someone been fired? One case will do but give five and make a trend. Oh you can’t then please sit down and shut up.

    Not too (none, actually) many in the name of Atheism-run organizations “raising money for cancer research, supporting new housing in impoverished areas of the world, or sending food and clothing and medical supplies to people affected by natural disasters”

    Could that be because atheist’s are not a group per se. No creeds or dogmas. Not the same as saying atheists are not doing the things you mention above themselves.

    You are really seriously dishonest.

  92. #92 Bureacratus Minimis
    March 26, 2008

    Philos @ 77: I’m agnostic, as Darwin was…

    JT @ 88 (responding to Philos): How “Christian” of you.

    This entire thread, particularly the exchange above, is emblematic of the humorlessness and bunker mentality that has come to define Pharyngula — to the detriment of all on this side of the debate.

    The number of responses from people who didn’t get that the posts by Hipple were parody is also telling.

  93. #93 Dutch Delight
    March 26, 2008

    The comments about charity work and atheist/secular organizations are just giving other people a window into the barren wasteland of experience and knowledge that is the believers brain. Quite sickening.

  94. #94 Sven DIMilo
    March 26, 2008

    Research on most things is useful, but others, not so much.

    My research is not generally “useful.” It’s curiosity driven; my students and I are not trying to cure cancer or even ED, but rather simply to learn interesting things about animals.
    That’s what science is for–to learn interesting things about the physical universe. Payoffs in “usefulness” are often serendipitous. This is how it should–must–be.

  95. #95 JT
    March 26, 2008

    This entire thread, particularly the exchange above, is emblematic of the humorlessness and bunker mentality that has come to define Pharyngula — to the detriment of all on this side of the debate.

    Interesting how you didn’t bother to quote me in context there. I was obviously using the word in reference to the traits of dishonesty, hypocrisy, and projection as a sort of counter to the constant use of the word to describe generic positive traits (and in so doing denigrate every non-Christian in earshot). I was not in any way saying that he was a Christian. Perhaps you aren’t familiar with this usage. If so, kindly go educate yourself.

  96. #96 Bureaucratus Minimis
    March 26, 2008

    Philos @ 77: I’m agnostic, as Darwin was…

    Sven @ 94, adressing Philos’ post @ 77: …the barren wasteland of experience and knowledge that is the believers [sic] brain.

    Uh-huh.

  97. #97 ctenotrish, FCD
    March 26, 2008

    “Folpiclopine” – Yep, folks, you heard (okay, read) it here first.

    FUNNY!!!!

  98. #98 spurge
    March 26, 2008

    Bureaucratus

    You can’t even attribute quotes to the right people.

  99. #99 JImC
    March 26, 2008

    The number of responses from people who didn’t get that the posts by Hipple were parody is also telling.

    Nope, it’s just that what is so often written is often difficult to discern from satire.

    Everyone one realized it and rather than a ‘bunker’ mentality admitted as such which is the exact opposite of close mindedness.

  100. #100 Bureaucratus Minimis
    March 26, 2008

    Spurge is right. I wrongly attributed the author and the quote number. Dutch Delight @ 93, not Sven @ 94 (obviously).

    However, I still stand by what I said. It was the comment, not the author, that I was addressing.

    You guys are shooting the messenger.

  101. #101 Jt
    March 26, 2008

    The number of responses from people who didn’t get that the posts by Hipple were parody is also telling.

    It’s telling of the fact that fundamentalist thinking is so ridiculous that it’s difficult to distinguish from parody. It’s also fairly telling of the posters since they clearly had no problem admitting that they were mistaken and found it quite funny, which is exactly the opposite of the “humorlessness and bunker mentality” you accused them of.

    Now, are you going to apologize for your false accusations, or are you going to display the exact traits you accused us of.

  102. #102 Matt Penfold
    March 26, 2008

    When Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars was that also an accident ? After the radio survey she was making of the sky was intended to look for them (no one knew they existed after all. I think it would be unreasonable to say the fact they were discovered the way they were was accident, but to say that the work Bell did in understanding what the strange signal was an accident is laughable.

    Science is littered with examples of discoveries that started off with an initial accidental observation. That does not mean that the subsequent understanding that came from those observations were accidental.

  103. #103 Bureaucratus Minimis
    March 26, 2008

    Nope, it’s just that what is so often written is often difficult to discern from satire.

    OK, Hipple posts here regularly, though infrequently. Even for those who didn’t understand that it was satire from the post itself, the answer was only a quick link-click away. Also, most people here seem familiar with Poe’s Law: that a parody of fundamentalist speech is inherently hard to distinguish from the real thing.

    Everyone one realized it and rather than a ‘bunker’ mentality admitted as such which is the exact opposite of close mindedness.

    Not everyone, but this isn’t about taking that person to task because he’s generally quite reasonable, and could also be otherwise occupied, etc.

    I’m not saying this to score points against any one person, but to try to prompt honest self-examination among the greater readership. It’s not only what we think of each other, but how others see us (PR Alert!).

    It was the initial leap to conclusion, and piling-on that I found indicative of humorlessness, which I feel is caused by bunker mentality.

    That most people realized they’d been had, and ‘fessed up, is indeed a good thing.

    Jt may consider this a response to his/her post, also.

  104. #104 Matthew C. Nisbet
    March 26, 2008

    As I have written about and talked about in presentations or media interviews dozens of times over the past year, Mike’s preferred interpretation is our most effective frame in translating the importance of evolutionary science for the wider public. In fact this is something we suggested in our original essay at Science.

    The frame emphasizes defining evolution as the modern building block for advances in the medical sciences, and without evolution we wouldn’t know where to begin to understand problems such as bird flu. The frame takes a complex uncertain thing for the public (evolutionary science) and connects it to a shared value and interest in social progress and solving diseases.

    In fact, as I describe at my blog and in recent talks including at AAAS, this is the exact frame that the National Academies found in their focus groups and polling to be most effective in communicating about evolutionary science. As the National Academies also notes, the data show that when this progress frame is combined with a second interpretation reassuring Americans that indeed there is no conflict between science and many religious traditions, the twin frames translate into our most effective communication strategy for defending evolution in schools.

    http://scienceblogs.com/framing-science/2008/03/at_the_national_academies_rese.php

  105. #105 PZ Myers
    March 26, 2008

    Go away, Matt. Your self-serving hype has no credibility whatsoever.

  106. #106 Hap
    March 26, 2008

    1) “Chance favors the prepared mind.” (approx.) L. Pasteur. The scientific method is what allowed people to take the mold sample and realize that something might be of use in it – without that knowledge, people wouldn’t have been able to do anything with it (or be in a position to do so).

    2) If P’s faith is a source of strength, then why does it require him to ignore how things work (the data that science puts out)? After all, people have to deal with what is regardless of their beliefs, and pretending that things you don’t like don’t exist is a recipe for disaster (Example 1: President Bush, Jr.). It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to assume that the observations people make are false (and self-consistently so), or rather a deity that would do that is unworthy of respect or love and faith in such a deity is likely to do much of anything. If one can’t deal with evolution because it is inconsistent with a (internally inconsistent) reading of the Bible (so that even if you believe that what it denotes might be true, your particular belief cannot be so), then life is going to be hard for him (and perhaps for those around him, as well).

    3) Isn’t he banned, anyway?

  107. #107 cognitive dissident
    March 26, 2008

    That was, quite simply, a brilliant response!

    We need to remind everyone that while ignorance is free, its cost is incalculable. The questions not asked, experiments not performed, treatments not tested, and technologies not developed (through whatever form of intellectual intimidation) can scarcely be estimated.

    P.S. As a follow-up to #24, here’s another blasphemous joke:

    Q: Why couldn’t Jesus walk on water after the resurrection?
    A: Because of the holes in his feet!

  108. #108 Julie Stahlhut
    March 26, 2008

    Actually, microorganisms “invented” antibiotics through evolutionary processes. (Natural antibiotics can confer a fitness advantage to the microbes bearing them, for reasons that can be found in any textbook of evolutionary ecology.)

    Bacteria and fungi produce antibiotics for their own needs, not ours. But, because of the observational and experimental skills of scientists like Fleming, we now have an arsenal of natural and synthetic antibiotics that are useful in human and veterinary medicine. And, on the flip side, the problems we’re now having with antibiotic-resistant pathogens are yet another real-life exercise in evolutionary ecology.

    I’ll remember Mike’s quote. for sure. Might have a chance to use it someday.

  109. #109 ScottB
    March 26, 2008

    Important to these kinds of discussions is the precision of language and ideas. Flemings research and development of penecillin and Dr. Bell’s reserach on pulsars are emblmatic of the goodness of fit of the current scientific model. At issue is whether all of that is necessarily only understood within the context of evolution. In my ancient youth, evolution was the explanation of the process of diffentiation of species through natural selection. To be clear, such natural processes are likely the result of the dynamic of very large data sets. However, to imply that an artificial (artifical = human created) event such as breeding or germicide is a natural event is not helpful to the understanding of evolution, per se. We are now at a point were we can create living organisms, albeit viruses, from inert materials. This too is not evolution. It is artifice. Indeed such a model may serve better to foster ID as a viable theory (assuming that humans can be intelligent designers). Artifical and scientific models are just that and not the thing which they model.

    So what is evolution: Natural or Artificial?

  110. #110 Monado, FCD
    March 26, 2008

    And Madeleine Neumann died last week because her parents prayed instead of getting medical help. And ninety women have died in Nicaragua because church-supported legislation won’t let them have abortions even for ectopic pregnancies (in the Fallopian tube), until the tube has burst and the woman is close to death.

  111. #111 Monado, FCD
    March 26, 2008

    The discovery of penicillin was serendipitous: look for something, find something else even better. Why was a saucer of milk left out overnight, gathering random spores? It was for the laboratory cat! Why did the milk turn (except for the spot around the mold colony)? Because ordinary places didn’t have air conditioning in those days and it was hot and thundery.

    Then observation and research clicked in. Noticing the saucer, isolating the fungus, figuring out what might be going on, doing the experiments, learning to isolate and purify and make in industrial quantities: that was science. And a good thing, too, or I probably would have died from enteritis when I was a small child. I’m glad my life didn’t depend on prayer when I was ill.

  112. #112 Will
    March 26, 2008

    BA-ZING!

  113. #113 blue
    March 26, 2008

    ScottB:

    With each post you demonstrate how little you know about science, biology, and evolution.

    Artificial and natural selection work by the exact same processes. The only difference is in what, exactly, is doing the selecting. Please explain how, exactly, artificial selection is not relevant to evolutionary biology. The macro/microevolution divide you seem to think exists, does not actually exist.

    As for the rest of your post: ID ‘theory’ is not informed by, and has nothing to say about artificial selection.

  114. #114 SteveM
    March 26, 2008

    PZ said:
    You really don’t understand science at all, philos.

    Hey, how did philos get out of the dungeon? Or is this just a copycat ‘nym?

  115. #115 tony
    March 26, 2008

    It is excellent framing. The only thing possibly better might be going from a past perspective to forward looking – i.e., why care about a 2,000 year old dead guy when there are x people we might save in the NEXT 2,000 years by investing in the science education of our children?

  116. #116 ScottB
    March 26, 2008

    My final thoughts on this thread.
    Even a casual observer will discover on this thread that the emotional investment on either side of evolution/creation outweighs critical thinking. I am disappointed that dialog is not in evidence as much as diatribe. While there is certainly a place for passionate discussions, such discussions should, in this writer’s opinion, begin with a hefty dose of civility and end with a realization that we must all work this out – together. As a very first time blogger herein and a person born in the 50′s, I am continuously surprised by our society’s recent penchant to equate insult, put-downs and zingers with thoughtful discourse.
    Blue – since you have addressed me personally let me add this for you. Both natural and human-engendered selection processes are indeed valid data points which may lead to better undestanding of the evolutionary model. However, there comes a point where obervers can so thoroughly interfer with that which they observe as to obscure the original observation. It is my suggestion therefore that poisoning MN aquifers with perflurocarbons, MN surface waters with mercury, MN air with ozone (got a hint maybe I am from MN?), artificially moving exotic species into MN ecosystems, selecting monocultures of agriculterally important plants to supplant the existing diversity of MN prairie, savanna and woodland species, and deliberately changing the frequency of genes of multiple animals incurs such an obscurity. Furthermore that we scientists can enfold those very changes into our world view to our momentary benifit through such things as learning how to selectively poison microbial growth via beta-lactam or use the manipulation of antibodies to cross-species antigens to measure diseases and human systemic proteins in vitro (work heavily invested in the understanding of the conservation of protein aminoacid sequences between species and is in fact what I do for a living) is a paean to our genius as humans but is not what I think of as a natural selection process. This perhaps smacks of moral value assignment in the course of what might be otherwise considered a morally neutral observation but – there you have it. You, blue, as an educator have the trust of of us all to foster critical thinking, pass on millenias’ worth of hard won knowledge, and shape the imagination of others into worthy tools.
    Bye for now.

  117. #117 Azkyroth
    March 27, 2008

    ScottB:

    Open your mouth.

    Now, close it again.

    Congratulations. You have just enunciated the entirety of the evidential support for Creationism, rebranded as “Intelligent Design” or otherwise.

    Given this, does it really seem so strange that the unbelievable arrogance and obnoxiousness of Cdesign proponentsists in demanding that their completely unevidenced assertions, wrapped in empty but superficially appealing rhetoric, be given an equal footing with the sum of decades of dedicated, properly scientific research, is kind of…annoying?

    Richard Dawkins put it best: “Imagine yourself a classical scholar who has spent a lifetime studying Roman history in all its rich detail. Now somebody comes along, with a degree in marine engineering or mediaeval musicology, and tries to argue that the Romans never existed. Wouldn’t you find it hard to suppress your impatience?”

  118. #118 Kadin
    March 27, 2008

    Reverend Hipple: That comment of yours wasn’t actually very funny. I got that it was satire/a Poe after clicking through to your website, but it’s not so much a parody of what a creationist would say as it is exactly what a creationist would say. Kind of lessens the humour value.

  119. #119 windy
    March 27, 2008

    Hey, how did philos get out of the dungeon? Or is this just a copycat ‘nym?

    Convergent evolution?

  120. #120 blue
    March 27, 2008

    ScottB:

    Most of what you wrote above makes little sense to me. But what I did get out of it was that you seem to be making some kind of value judgement about the relative ‘good’ of natural vs. artificial selection. Fortunately, the issue of whether we consider the effects of our changing the natural environment and the resultant differences in selection pressures on organisms to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ makes little difference in the overall scheme of things. These facts are still very relevant to evolutionary biology and theory.

  121. #121 manaen
    March 28, 2008

    Fifteen years ago, Christ’s atonement saved my life and then it healed my soul.
    .
    I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell. (2 Nephi 33:6)

  122. #122 Loki
    March 28, 2008

    Eighteen years ago medical technology saved my life before I was meant to be born.
    How’s that for a counter argument?

  123. #123 Lilly de Lure
    March 28, 2008

    *Cheers*

    Nicely put Loki!

  124. #124 Hipple, Rev. Paul T.
    March 28, 2008

    Twenty years ago I would have dropped to my knees and prayed for a lost soul like Kadin’s (#118), but today it makes more sense to spend my Prayerful Effort asking God to Save our Dominion by electing leaders who will marginalize, imprison or even conscript these sort of reckless secular characters into our Army where they can be put to some worthwhile use.

    He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
    -Proverbs (ch. XIII, v. 24)

  125. #125 Skeptigirl
    April 1, 2008

    Ah, but I seriously doubt that Mr. Nisbet would be happy that scientific medical advances were being promoted as the counterpoint to Christianity.
    Posted by: Sastra | March 25, 2008 9:13 PM

    Why not? I’ve been framing science like this for quite some time now:

    Science is very successful at curing the sick, giving us longer lives, making us more comfortable, and offering hope for a cure in the future if there is no cure yet. Prayer and magic have never been very successful as a medical intervention.

    God supposedly cursed all of Eve’s female offspring to suffer pain in childbirth for Eve’s ‘sin’. Belief in Jesus was supposed to offer a path for forgiveness. But if you are “saved” by belief in Jesus it does nothing for labor pains. 2,000 years later, however, science has given us anesthesia, no Jesus beliefs required.

  126. #126 wazza
    April 1, 2008

    The problem isn’t the frame, the problem is Nisbet…

    he just doesn’t want us to meet the theists on their own terms.

  127. #127 Skeptigirl
    April 1, 2008

    I’ll stipulate that someone dies every two minutes from a microbial infection although most of them are savages choosing to live in squalid conditions and so are pretty much getting what they asked for. But let’s be clear, there is no biblical conflict, and there has never been a conflict, with micro-evolution. And we’re getting burn near tired of reminding you of that.
    Those people are dying from micro-evolutionary processes and you science types should be taking a stand to help them. It is only Christian that you do so…..
    Posted by: Hipple, Rev. Paul T. | March 25, 2008 11:39 PM

    I’m trying to figure out if this guy is serious, yanking chains, or making a really bad April Fools post.

    If you believe infectious diseases only kill people who “live in squalid conditions” I can’t think of too many things more ignorant than that. But of course you topped it off with a decades old argument that evolution theory hadn’t resolved species change. Got 2 words for you fella, genetic science. You have an incredible amount of catching up to do.

    We even have overwhelming evidence that irreducible complexity is a failed hypothesis, imagine that!

    About that Christian thing to do, does that still include owning slaves and stoning children to death who disobey their parents? I’ve heard people try to claim that all changed after Jesus but then I see Jesus talks about killing all sorts of people too. It seems like it depended on what side of the bed he got out of on a particular day or something. And how about beating some poor gay kid then leaving him tied to a fence to die. Was that one of those Christian things to do? I think I’ll stick to the secular humanist thing to do, thank you. That other stuff bothers me.

  128. #128 Skeptigirl
    April 1, 2008

    He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
    -Proverbs (ch. XIII, v. 24)
    Posted by: Hipple, Rev. Paul T. | March 28, 2008 3:28 PM

    I went with the research that suggested violence begets violence when it came to raising my son. Never had to use physical violence against him one single time. There are any number of more effective ways to teach children what they need to know and give them excellent moral values. He’s 18 now, in college, and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer kid.

  129. #129 Skeptigirl
    April 1, 2008

    The problem isn’t the frame, the problem is Nisbet…
    he just doesn’t want us to meet the theists on their own terms.
    Posted by: wazza | April 1, 2008 5:53 AM

    I see from post #104 there is some history here I was not aware of, but Nisbet wasn’t relevant to the comment I was making.

    To his comments in post #104 on the matter however, I disagree. While it isn’t productive to confront people’s god beliefs head on, neither is it productive, in my opinion, to excuse them as an acceptable reason to put critical thinking skills aside.

    People seem to have little trouble recognizing there is no Zeus or Pele. But when it comes to their own god beliefs they can’t see there is no difference. Magical beings in the sky just do not exist as far as the evidence goes. Tiptoeing around the obvious only means you’ve missed an opportunity to address someone’s critical thinking skills. That in turn spills over into everything else, falling for false advertising, getting fooled by political propaganda, and following fanatical fundamentalists when they do very bad things like murdering gay kids and flying planes into buildings.

  130. #130 Skeptigirl
    April 1, 2008

    OK, I see the Hipple, Rev. Paul T. was playing Landover Baptist church.

    Since there are people who could have posted that garbage and might be reading the blog, I’ll try not to be upset at myself for wasting time answering.

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